After years of attending the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival with some of his No Doubt band mates, Tony Kanal will finally perform at Coachella for the first time with those same band mates.
Here’s the twist: It won’t be with No Doubt.
In place of Gwen Stefani, No Doubt bassist Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young will be playing at Coachella as members of Dreamcar, their newly formed band with AFI singer Davey Havok.
“We’ve attended Coachella many, many times as fans,” Kanal said. “Now, we’re finally going to be on stage there.”
Dreamcar’s performances at Coachella this weekend and next weekend come as part of the group’s debut tour, which includes a sold-out San Diego show Tuesday at the Music Box.
The band’s self-titled debut album will be released May 12. Its first single, “Kill for Candy,” is steeped in the New Wave rock stylings of the 1980s that Kanal and his fellow Dreamcar members grew up absorbing.
The seeds for Dreamcar were planted in 2014 when No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and AFI singer Davey Havok, who are both vegans, kept running into each other at the same restaurants in Los Angeles.
No Doubt has not performed since headlining the 2015 KAABOO Del Mar festival. Kanal, 46, discussed his new band, Coachella, No Doubt and more in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. Here are excerpts from that conversation.
What are your fondest Coachella memories?
I have so many. One of them was seeing Prince there in 2008. I was watching from the side of the stage and that was such a great show.
When did you first go to Coachella?
It was when you could still drive your golf cart onto the festival grounds! Adrian had a house close by and we’d drive into the festival on our golf carts.
2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
When: Friday through Sunday, and April 21-23
Where: Empire Polo Club, 81800 Avenue 51, Indio
Tickets: Sold out. A limited number of Outstanding in the Field gourmet dinner packages are available. They include a three-day festival pass and one dinner, and cost $624 (general admission) and $1,124 (VIP package) per person.
Dreamcar’s publicity photos, which show the four of you framed by blue and white neon lights, bring to mind Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, circa 1980. Is there any accuracy to that?
That’s it, yeah. We did a bunch of shots and neon lights were a big part. Inevitably, we ended up doing that neon set-up as part of an homage to all the things that are great that came from that era.
Similarly, “Kill for Candy” sounds like it could be a homage, at least in part, to David Bowie. Is it?
With all the songs we did for this album, there was never any specific tie-ins to a particular artist. But Bowie, among many others, is hugely influential to us. The one thing I’ll say about Dreamcar and the music we’ve created is that we never set out to do anything specific. It was very much a case of being creative. And because nobody even knew for the past three years that we were doing this band, there weren’t any expectations and there was nobody we had to bounce stuff off. So what you hear is the four of us expressing ourselves without any inhibitions. And so many things have influenced us, impacted us and live on in us.
How long will No Doubt be on hiatus?
It’s indefinite. There’s been no discussion of doing anything any time soon. We just celebrated 30 years from our first club gig. If anything, our history has afforded us the luxury to be creative and do our own things. If there’s ever that desire to get back together and play shows, that (option) is always there. We’ll always be family and always have that shared history that no one else has. Reuniting is not something we’ve talked about. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Is No Doubt done?
To clarify, there’s been no discussion of doing anything in the future, so we’ll see. Dreamcar could go on for a good long while.
Are you excited, nervous, or both about doing Dreamcar’s first tour?
I’m so excited! We’ve been rehearsing for the past few weeks and I have a great amount of good, nervous excitement. We’ve always been up for the challenge of winning people over.
So, are you already gearing up for Dreamcar’s second album?
Ha-ha-ha! No. The first album still feels fresh and I have a different appreciation for it, now that’s it’s done. I’m so proud.